Friday, June 29, 2007

It's 77 degrees

Which means it feels like summer, sort of. We're going to grill! Maybe I will go swimming this weekend!

It's Friday, so my students hit on me (and each other) more than usual. One of them told me that they can predict my mood by the color of the markers I use in the morning. Today I used green and light blue. Apparently, when I use black and red I am more strict.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Save Me

Today I listened to two people talk about herb cleansing diets and mantras as ways to cure my hives and calm my stomach. I've always had hippie and new age tendencies, but this is a new level for me. What does it mean?

I'm desperate
I'm adjusting to culture around here
I've always been this way but am more relaxed now

Yoga is also messing with my vocabulary. I use words like "joy" and "abundance." I tell people that I am "mindful" of certain things. I hope this language doesn't lead to bad poetry.

Maybe I should write "yoga" poems! Thinking I should have a look at Chris Stroffolino's Cusps.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

When I want to weep early in the morning

I read or remember stories about animals. When I want to be annoyed, I think about public transportation in San Diego. Then I read the local news coverage. Lately, I've become kind of addicted to the letters to the editor in the North County Times. Today the letters include:

1. Several anti-Bush rants, including a suggestion that he be impeached.
2. A letter scolding those who care about global warming, noting that people are more important.
3. People pro and anti single-payer insurance plans
4. Complaints about seeing two men fighting each other on Father's day
5. A letter advocating an international volunteer force modeled after the French Foreign Legion.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I don't want another job, I just want more money.

The classifieds depress me (here & everywhere). Job-hunting is time-consuming and depressing, even when I'm successful. Who would be employed in the "having your services engaged for a job that pays wages or a salary" sense if there was an alternative. I'm all for work. Work is great. But most jobs just suck. I have many jobs, and my job situation is quite good (no office, I like teaching, etc etc), but I must constantly be applying for work to make sure that it stays that way. The vast number of crappy jobs amazes me.

It's slim slim pickings around here. The keywords "writer" and "editor" turn up, in a good week, about two jobs. One job will be part-time and pay $11/hour, and the other job will be full-time and very corporate and want someone with an MA, but pay $28,000 a year. Marketing/PR and design jobs are more of the same. Other than that, there are a lot of opportunities to be a "Temporary Accounting Clerk."

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The fig/anchovy/garlic spread was good.

My study is clean.

Friday, June 22, 2007

So everything is normal.

I'm looking forward to seeing friends this weekend and to cooking. We do a pretty good job of managing to see and hang out with people around here--a very good job, actually--but the kind of casual socializing that comes with living in a city/not having to drive to get everywhere and knowing people a long time is tougher. There's now an age issue as well: it's harder to become friends with adults. But today I'm feeling optimistic about Carlsbad--I've felt alienated and alone (but not necessarily unhappy, no no no) everywhere I've ever lived, regardless of the number of friends and colleagues I've had around.

The hives persist. It is vaguely comforting to read that, in many cases, not even a doctor can figure out the source of them. I suspect it's a cocktail of several things (as Anne suggested in my comment box a few days ago).

I'm sure it's not just something I'm eating. But if it is something I'm eating, it has to be something that I eat on a regular basis. I'm quite attentive to food, I know what I've eaten, and I haven't eaten anything out of the ordinary. But it took years for my shellfish allergy to become bad enough to obviously be an allergy, so maybe that's the case here. This makes me nervous, though. I don't want to stop eating cheese, nuts, tomatoes, eggs, or any of those common triggers. But obviously I will if I have to. Blech. Really, I'd rather have my body manifest its sensitivity in other ways.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Birthday to Mark!

who is my favorite and best.

And happy midsommar. I don't have flowers for my pillow, but I have 7 different kinds of herbs and aromatics. I don't believe in marriage, but I think it will all mean something to someone somewhere.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

And it's true.

All my students know I practice yoga and live with Mark and Lester the forpus pacificus. One of them asked me if I could put my legs behind my head. He was trying to be gross. I said no. It is a new problem to be the "older woman" that my 23 year old students have a crush on. This bunch seems to think and talk about sex more than is usual for my classes. I told them, "I love grammar, you hate it, it will never work between us. Plus, I am smarter than you." In ESL you can get away with saying things like this--one reason I like it. Then I taught a lesson on passive voice gerunds and infinitives. Example:

"I don't mind being manipulated by pictures of small baby animals."

I need to fold my laundry

Ok, my immersion blender cannot do everything. Eventually I will need to get a food processor, and not a small one, but a larger one.

Also, I need sumac and bulgur. In bulk. And I should have brought a lot more Iranian saffron home with me from Oman.

I found a recipe for a kind of paste/dip that would probably be good with goat cheese--anchovies and figs and other things. It is such a weird combination that I might have to try it. After years of thinking most canned fish other than tuna was gross, I'm now coming to like anchovies and sardines.

In fact, I like any ingredient that is basic and can do a lot to a dish with minimal effort. Other examples: prosciutto, olives, feta (most kinds of strong cheese in the right context), garlic, roasted peppers, mushrooms (dried and reconstituted or fresh) a good chili powder (preferably one you ground yourself), bharat....

Monday, June 18, 2007

"My thoughts start out with me like blood-stained mutineers...

debauching themselves on board the ship they have captured, but I bring them home at nightfall, larking and tumbling over each other like happy little boy scouts at play." G.M. Trevelyan, "Walking" (1913)

And Leslie Stephen talks about Byron in his essay "In Praise of Walking": "lameness was to severe to admit of walking, and therefore all the unwholesome humours which would have been walked off in a good cross-country march accumulated in his brain and caused the defects, the morbid affectation and perverse misanthropy, which half ruined the achievement of the most masculine intellect of his time."

R.D. Guthrie's 1974 idea about how/why humans started walking upright: so that men could use their now exposed penises as "threat display organs" to intimidate opponents.

Reagan and Gorbachev walking around Lake Geneva (in Rousseau's hometown), Reagan claiming that they had a heartfelt discussion and agreed to take mutual steps toward disarmament. (A heartfelt discussion with what must have been a huge entourage of security and translators).

3 out of 4 organizations I've worked for in the past 12 months cannot manage to pay me on time,

or every pay period. There's always some "mistake."

Sunday, June 17, 2007

O we are un-balconied!

It's father's day. Today we had a very "masculine" asana practice. Thank you, Shiva, for the soreness I'm going to have between my shoulder blades tomorrow. Thank you, Dad, for reading to me and for passing along the ability to survive strange medical ailments and be robust in spite of them!

Tomorrow they (several people, two different sets of contractors, including a helpful person named Alex) are going to begin redoing our balconies and stairs. I'll move Lester to the study so that he doesn't have to inhale paint fumes or any other fumes.

I'm giving a test tomorrow. It is a long test, and I did not write it myself.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I still have hives


I still have them. The hives, I mean.

Mark took me out for a birthday dinner! We were going to take the bus to a Cuban place in Oceanside, but the bus never came, so we went and had some Italian food in Carlsbad at Caldo Pomodoro. It was pretty good, although nothing astounding, but it was good to have something of a night out.

My binoculars came in the mail today!

We went hiking today!

I have hives. Still.

My left hamstring hurts. I did an asana practice on my own yesterday, but I don't think I cooled down correctly. The Anusara Yoga 101 with John Friend moves too slowly for me, so maybe I'll go back to an Ashtanga primary series for my home practice. I need sun salutations to get warm--otherwise I don't have any hope of getting into the most basic of asanas. Except for inversions and back bends--those I can randomly do no matter what.

Actually, I'm in a good mood. But this is not the best blog post. Ever.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I would like to have several layers of my skin removed and

other things, too.

I still have hives.

Today on break I was talking with two of my students, a Japanese woman and a young man from Italy.

Japanese woman: Most women here are sluts.
Italian man: Yeah, all the women I meet at bars are sluts.
Me: that is because you are going to slut bars.
Me: The US is big, and there are many different kinds of people here, just like there are many different kinds of people in Europe.

I remember when I was going to a French school in Guangzhou, I started swearing frequently, because it's easy to swear in a foreign language, people think it's funny, and you don't really know what you're saying. I spent several months saying "bitch" and "shove it up your ass" until I realized what I was saying. Currently, my students like saying "bitch," "slut," and "hell."

We're a long way from a discussion about Feminism.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I like beets. Roasted beets and beet greens!

I have hives, again, all over my arms and legs. No clue why--I've eaten nothing I don't usually eat, except for beets, but the hives and the beets don't correspond. So.

It's good to be riding my bike and teaching again, but I miss the AM yoga.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The conversation, I think, was mostly OK, but

it made me nervous enough that I pulled aside all my female students on break to try and solicit their feelings about it, making it clear that if they were even the least bit uncomfortable, I'd make sure to channel future conversations about sex etc differently. They seemed very nonchalant, and even interested. I wish they'd comment in class more. I had two of the same female students in a smaller class, and they were both talkative.

In an ESOL class, you can go from talking about agro-business to sex very quickly. Sometimes it's difficult to predict where someone is going with a thought, because they are, after all, expressing their ideas in a language other than the one(s) they're used to using.

I didn't teach them the term "meat market," but I will tomorrow.

I'm always interested in what my students say about North County culture, and US culture in general. Today, two of my male European students wanted to know about house parties and breast surgery. Most of the male students make it to Hooters (just down the road) soon after their arrival. They mentioned that while out at bars (both are of age), they frequently speak with women who have had breast surgery and that sometimes these women encourage people to feel their breasts.

I'm sure this is all true. I'm not morally outraged, but I do find it an odd way to socialize. I enjoy telling people that my tan is fake but I don't tell them to rub my skin. I respect flirting through conversation. Anyone can grab and be grabbed. Also, I'm sure that there are plenty of breasts in Europe, especially on the beach, so I'm not sure I understand their particular enthusiasm. Perhaps fake breasts are particularly exciting?

Or maybe it's just that the myths about California and California girls are super strong. I'm hardly going to stand up in front of my class and say "my breasts and hair are not enhanced!" I've mentioned several times on this blog how folks on the east coast were commenting, sincerely, on my tan before I'd even left. One student went up to Orange County and was disappointed because it wasn't as exciting as "The OC." I've never actually seen that show, but maybe I need to start watching it, because that is where a lot of my foreign students seem to be getting their information about SoCal.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

OK, sometimes employment is useful

I like most of my students. Most of my students like me. Teaching is at least social, and I get to talk about grammar. I get to ride my bike everyday. I get more paychecks, and more sun. I teach about 10 minutes inland, which is just enough to make it sunnier there more often in June.

Thanks to a combination of gift certificates and birthday finds, I have binoculars and a binocular harness arriving in the mail, as well as Sibley's guide to birds of the western US.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I am attempting to be cheerful, because that is my nature

But having my birthday on the Monday before I go back to work again is kind of crappy. It feels like the last Sunday of the summer, except that it is Monday and the summer is still ahead of me. There will be many birthday celebrations all month long, but right now all I can think about is having to get up at 6:30 tomorrow, how employment is necessary but awful, how I am now in the 30th year of my life, as 29. That 29 is still very young makes it more ridiculous and more awful.

But I might as well enjoy these dramatic, tragic feelings--Mark and I are going to watch "Caged."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Love and hate are abstract, but what happens when you love and hate is not abstract.

Twice this week I've heard women talk about ex husbands / boyfriends / partners as having been "in control of the remote" or "the one controlling the channel changer." I was turning this metaphor over in my head during shavasana today. It implies that the men were in control of the relationship, but it also implies that the women think of themselves or their lives as being like television. Whoever controls the remote is more or less a person sitting on the sofa and this is supposed to symbolize agency? I understand the idea, but as a mechanism for conceptualizing agency and romantic relationships, I find it a bit disturbing. What would be a positive relationship, one where you each get to use the channel changer equally?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I know that no one gives a(n) (explicative) about Oman but

My family is OK. The cyclone hit them on Tuesday night and continued through Wednesday. Their home had mostly water damage, only, but they spent most of the night holed up in a small bathroom--the driest room in the house. According to Mary, my sisters were great-- the whole thing was "an adventure in their eyes." I'm so proud of them! They're in a hotel now as the house has no water or power, but will eventually be habitable again.

Several of our friends in Muscat live near or more or less in wadis (dry river beds), and they really did loose everything--their entire homes/neighborhoods were flooded.

Dad arrived back in Muscat from Sohar on Thursday morning. Normally I'm not pro huge cars and 4 wheel drives, but in this case they proved to be essential.

Even though I deeply enjoy romantic escapism...

Frank Sinatra is not my favorite anything. I especially abhor his slow songs with strings. "Nancy (with the Laughing Face)" is one of my least favorite songs. If I'm going to listen to Sinatra, he'd better be singing with a big band, and there'd better be over the top horns--"Come Fly with me" or "Luck be a Lady," for example.

We had friends over for dinner last night. I mashed lamb meat and onions and bulgar and other things to make kibbeh with joy and energy! I am so happy that my eyes are closed!

Mark and I went to the Daly Ranch this morning for a nice, moderately strenous hike. Heading east past Escondido, the landscape looks more or less like this until you get over the mountains and into the desert.

Friday, June 08, 2007

There were a few shots of Muscat post-typhoon on the weather channel yesterday evening.

Flooding, mostly. The news is mostly about what the typhoon will do to oil production. Oman isn't a huge producer of oil compared with some of its neighbors, but it does produce some.

I'm making a kind of kibbeh for dinner this evening--one that doesn't need to be put in a pastry crust or fried--instead, it will be baked and then have a topping of some sort, I haven't decided what. Mincing the lamb meat last night proved more than my food processor could handle, so I ended up cutting it and then pounding it with my potato masher while Mark and I hung out and watched basketball.

Lester has a feather stuck in his nose. I'd thought he was finished molting, but he had several new pin feathers this week, so he's been taking a lot of showers. Warm water helps soften the waxy stuff around the new feathers so it comes off easier during preening. And Lester enjoys bathing even when he's not molting.

I'm tutoring and working on a web page for someone today. On Tuesday I go back to teaching ESOL in the morning. I'll be glad to teach again, not so glad to get up at 6:30.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

This blog is not about how I feel

If you were smart you could more or less guess that. Feelings are important but obvious.


Yesterday, a guy yelled"hey mamasita" at me as I was coming home from the market. A drunk guy hanging out on the bluffs above the beach giggled at me as I walked by, both coming at going. I rarely receive this kind of commentary here in Carlsbad. Usually it's just random people saying "hello." Last year around Halloween, people threw eggs at me, and also people like to yell the color of my t-shirt at me: "go greeeeen!" or "go bluuuuue!" I might have blogged about this before, but once someone yelled "slut!" at me from their pick up truck as I ran by. But they were stopped at a stop light. So I stopped, looked at them, and yelled, "Bitch tools!"

No news from Dad or Mary about Oman, the typhoon, and how they're doing. The Cyclone has passed over Muscat at this point. My family lives within a mile of the beach so it's quite possible that there's been some flooding.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Typhoon Gonu Update

Well, Mary wrote to say that as of very early this morning, the eye of the typhoon was about to pass over Muscat, and that the water is rising pretty rapidly, but thus far the first floor isn't flooded--they've just been doing a lot of mopping. Parts of Muscat tend to flood fairly easily because most of the roads anywhere are built on dry wadis, so they become natural channels for the water with any little bit of rain.

Dad's up in Sohar helping everyone in the job site evacuate. I'm sure that's fun.

I suspect that my sisters might even be having a good time--there are several other families that live in the same compound, so I'm sure that the kids are hanging out together during the day. I probably would have enjoyed it when I was 9ish, regardless of whether or not the situation were actually dangerous.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Power walking is not cool

Recently, I have been walking for an hour instead of running for a half-hour for exercise. I like walking--in fact I realize that I enjoy it immensely--but I feel like a complete tool for calling it "exercise."

When I lived in Washington, DC, I easily walked more than an hour a day. I've been walking because I miss it. I think I used to process a good portion of my obsessions and worries while walking to and from work, teaching, meeting friends, grocery shopping, errands, etc. I don't think I've come up with an effective replacement.

I am not getting fat, but I would be if I weren't making a major effort to make up for the fact that the suburbs are structured to prevent me (and everyone) from actually moving.
Tropical Cyclone Gonu--a category 5--hit the coast of Oman yesterday. This is the strongest storm to hit Oman since 1977. The storm will have lost some momentum by the time it reaches Muscat, but everyone is nervous.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A situation in which further progress is impossible

"San Diego, in a word, is a natural 'cul-de-sac.' This is a term that its promoters have always despised, but it accurately describes the bay's isolation by its bordering maze of high mountains and deep canyons." P. 23 (in Mike Davis' section), Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See.

This is why all trains run through LA.

I agree with Obama, most people don't need an inscentive to get health care.

I wasn't hear to witness it (Mark was), but a jay attacked the finch nest, so the babies fledged a bit early, and one of them didn't make it. Mark did chase away the jay, but it followed them to the bushes. The finches did rally--which is why two of the nestlings did survive.

There are a few hawks in the area right now, but they seem mostly to be focused on the young crows and ravens. Everyone needs to eat, and the predators and scavengers need to get a break every so often.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I ate an excellent reuben sandwich today at Mariah's in Carlsbad.

The baby finches will fledge any day now. The day or two leading up to the fledge always makes me a bit hyper and nervous. There is always one precocious nestling that starts trying its wings early and looking out of the nest with interest. This nest is in the eaves of our balcony roof (can a balcony roof have eaves?) just in front of and above our door. Every time we come or go we're eye to eye with the three baby finches.

Lester attacked his bucket today with particular vigor.

I went for a long walk after the reuben sandwich. The weather was terrible today, cloudy, overcast, and yet there were still a lot of people at the beach. Parts of the state beach had red flags posted, but people were going in the water anyway.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Really, I am a jerk

To do/bla bla bla

1. Become obsessed with the local, especially the local flora and fauna and the local architecture/suburbanscape.

2. Write something that is of no definable genre. Write in floaty prose (I already do) about alienated females (I do this too)

Note: I am intelligent and hot and love my boyfriend and live in a conservative city with poor infrastructure at the edge of the world. Doesn't the haze of this post give all that away?

Recent dead animals on the beach: at least 5 seals (I've lost count), many Humboldt squid, and one pelican.

Today feels muggy. I guess we don't know what "muggy"means anymore.

I haven't seen any, but Humboldt squid have been washing ashore all month, from San Diego to Encinitas. It's not clear why they're washing ashore, although according to the Tribune, it might have something to do with El Niño weather patterns. Squid usually come north from Mexico in advance of major tropical weather. That might explain why there are so many of them here, but it doesn't explain why they're washing up on the beaches by the hundreds.

According to National Geographic, Humboldt squid beach themselves in California every few years: "
In 2002 thousands of squid filled the beach at La Jolla Cove north of San Diego, California. Last month at least 1,500 of the squid ended up on beaches between San Diego and Los Angeles." Also, the squid don't seem to be washing up dead on the shores. Instead, they swim into shallow water and get trapped on the beach.

Humboldt squid are supposedly quite aggressive. They can be "elusive and cannibalistic." According to Scott Cassell, who made a documentary about them called "Search for the Red Demon," these squid will attack. "They have a sharp beak, eight muscular arms and two retractable feeding tentacles that allow them to attack their prey with more than 40,000 needle-sharp teeth at once." Ooo!

There was a spill off the coast of Encinitas yesterday. According to the Tribune it was "somewhere between 500 to 1,000 gallons of some type of petroleum product. It smells like gasoline or diesel fuel." Scott Henry, the Chief of Encinitas fire division, said the mess is the worst spill he's seen in 27 years.

I'm not sure why the firemen are the ones dealing with a diesel spill in the ocean. The Tribune doesn't say much about wildlife, except to say that thus far "there has been no discernible impact" although the Tribune did note that a kelp bed off Beacon's Beach acted as a kind of natural barrier--that can't be good for the kelp. Mostly the article talks about how the spill cancelled the Switchfoot Bro-Am surf competition, and that the fumes of the spill are toxic and could cause health problems. Yay!

I can't find any mention of the dead seals in the news. I don't remember there being any dead seals on the beach last May, but that doesn't mean that there weren't any.